Dave Herman, Jets Legend Who Played With Joe Namath, Dead at 81

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Dave Herman, who was a quiet key to the Jets stunning Super Bowl win more than five decades ago, died this week. He was 81.

Herman was a right guard for the Jets’ offense. But for the 1968 playoffs, Jets coach Weeb Ewbank shifted Herman to right tackle. That meant the coach tasked Herman to protect the blindside of quarterback Joe Namath. Plus, Herman needed to block for backs Emerson Boozer and Matt Snell.

Weeb Ewbank made a great decision moving Dave Herman to right tackle. Here you see them celebrating the Super Bowl win together. (Getty Images)

The flashy Namath led New York to Super Bowl III in Miami on Jan. 12, 1969. But the Jets weren’t given much of a chance at knocking off the mighty Baltimore Colts, an NFL powerhouse. Herman’s blocking assignment was Bubba Smith, the future NFL Hall of Famer. But Dave Herman helped negate Smith, who at 6-foot-7, 295 pounds, towered over everyone on the field.

The Jets built a 16-0 lead, then held on for the 16-7 victory, surviving a late charge from Johnny Unitas. It all allowed Namath to make good on his brash guarantee that the Jets, a three-touchdown underdog, would beat the Colts.

Sports fans mourned Dave Herman when they learned he’d passed away. One fan posted “Oh no. Dave Herman has died, he was a Jets legend. They would not have won Super Bowl III without him.”

Dave Herman Played for a Decade with the New York Jets

Dave Herman enjoyed a 10-year NFL career, all with the Jets. Experts considered this former Michigan State star as one of the top offensive linemen in the game. He earned a spot on the All-AFL team from 1967-69. When he retired, he spent several years announcing Jets games for radio station WOR.

Dave Herman throws a block for Matt Snell. (Getty Images)

According to his obituary, Dave Herman moved to Valhalla, in Westchester County, outside NYC. He married Roma, the love of his life, in 1980. The two raised four children. The family announced that their beloved husband and father passed away, Wednesday. Reports said that the family confirmed that Herman had been diagnosed with CTE back in 2014.

The obituary described Dave Herman as “a fierce competitor on the field.” But “at heart, Dave was a gentle man whose greatest joys were the times spent at his home with his family. He took great pride in his responsibilities as a husband and father and worked tirelessly to provide a truly wonderful life for his wife and children.”

He’s also survived by four siblings and five grandchildren. Herman’s funeral is set for Monday in Valhalla.

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